Air Liquide has signed a major long-term contract with 3Sun — the newly formed manufacturing venture between Enel Green Power, Sharp and STMicroelectronics — to become the sole supplier of gases and services to the company. The Catania, Italy-based factory will start operations in 2011 and is expected to be the second largest Si thin-film solar factory in the world behind Sharp’s facility in Japan. 3Sun’s 160MWp per year output will be used by ENEL Green Power and Sharp to serve a large market that extends to Europe, Middle East and Africa.
This agreement covers the supply of very large volumes of specialty gases, the pipeline supply of carrier gases and the provision of all related services. Air Liquide will build the entire gas distribution and gas abatement networks on a turnkey basis. In order to meet these needs, Air Liquide will invest in additional hydrogen production capabilities in Sicily and also in the specialty gases supply chain.
Augustin de Roubin, VP Southern and Eastern Europe of the Air Liquide group and member of the executive committee said, “This important contract further strengthens our position in Italy which is already one of the main European countries for Air Liquide.”
“We are honored to be awarded this contract by 3Sun, which reinforces our leadership to each segment of the solar panels manufacturing industry. Air Liquide has been chosen based on the competitiveness of its offer, our leadership position in the silane market, its solar R&D roadmap and our strong presence in the Italian market. The Solar market is at the crossroads of high-tech, energy and the environment, three growth drivers for the Air Liquide Group,” concluded de Roubin.
Air Liquide is exhibiting at the 25th EU PVSEC on Level 2, Hall 2, Booth C1.